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Totem Talk: Emblem of Heroism gear for Shamans

Matthew Rossi

First off, happy birthday to me. (It was actually this weekend.) As a present to myself, I've switched toons, sort of.

Strangely enough, I've taken a break from my horde shaman to start leveling my alliance shaman, in one of those weird caprices of mood I get into from time to time. I don't know why, but the past five levels on the alliance side went faster than one level horde side, which is odd because I leveled exclusively as horde in the beta and enjoyed it immensely. Maybe it's just that I really enjoy Dragonblight from the alliance quest perspective, or maybe it's just being tired of the horde quests since I ran them so many times before. Maybe I'm just freaking insane. At any rate, I'm currently loving my space goat.

With Christmas around the corner raiding seems to have dried up pretty heavily (maybe I just don't know enough obsessed people) meaning that I'm having a better time leveling than I would in trying to get a raid together. Right now, my main focus is on what gear I want out of heroics and what I want to spend my Emblems of Heroism on. Since I've been covering heroics in the various instance posts (and we still have three or four instances to cover) I figured today would be a good chance to take a look at Emblem loot, in an attempt to keep going in the same vein as last week's Rep post.

Of course, any guide to emblem gear would have to mention that you can get your Tier 7 chest and glove tokens via emblems. Like most tier gear, these come in three flavors, enhancement, restoration and elemental. (We won't forget the gloves, either.) Honestly, I was a trifle surprised to see them go this route, but considering how hard it could be to get your Tier chestplate in BC it's certainly not a bad idea, especially if you have a lot of emblems from running heroics and feel like dropping 140 of them (80 for the BP, 60 for the gloves) in one go. Heck, it also means that if you're having bad luck in Naxx 10 either due to drop rate, losing the roll or bid, or what have you that you'll have a way to get yourself geared up without as much RNG.

What else can we acquire for our shaman (or shamans if you're crazy enough to play more than one... and stop looking at me like that)? Well, for caster shamans there's the Beadwork Belt of Shamanic Vision, which can be socketed and has a nice variety of stats. I'd give the edge to it being better for resto than elemental, but a lot depends on how you socket it (and get that eternal belt buckle for extra socket goodness) ultimately. It could certainly serve either spec. Meanwhile, enhancement shamans can attain Vereesa's Silver Chain Belt. Even with armor pen being much less impressive than it used to be, this is an intensely solid belt for an enhancement shaman, with 179 attack power all told, a good spread of stats for staying up as well as some into for both AP and mana pool, a socket and some needed hit rating. I honestly can't come up with a reason not to pick this up. (Maybe if I have this belt by the time I have enough badges I'll look elsewhere.)

There are currently three totems available for purchase with emblems. The Totem of Forest Growth is your restoration option, and if you're using Chain Heal a lot (which you are) it's a very sweet totem. Especially in the new world of no downranking, one potion per fight instancing/raiding, there's nothing at all bad about saving mana on every cast of your bread and butter heal. Meanwhile, the totem aimed at elemental (Totem of the Elemental Plane) seems to be the totem of choice for enhancement shamans over the Totem of Splintering. Not sure why they'd give that totem a measly 212 AP bonus to Windfury procs alone, with the new caster/melee nature of enhancement you'd probably get more out of the Totem of the Elemental Plane. Luckily, since this is a badge item, you don't have to worry about making some caster shaman cry, you just save your badges and get whatever appeals to you.

If you're a caster looking for a shield, the Protective Barricade of the Light has pretty much every stat a shaman could want, crit, spell power and MP5 make this shield as true a hybrid as the class itself, it's good for resto or elemental. (Better for resto, obviously.) If you'd rather get some hit rating, you may prefer the Ward of the Violet Citadel. It's not a shield, obviously, but it has basically the same stats, switching MP5 out for hit rating. For caster DPS the offhand might well prove better than the shield. Both are pretty nice, though.

Trinkets for shamans? We have three potential winners here. I can't think of an enhancement shaman who would say no to the Mirror of Truth. Loaded with crit rating and with a freaking incredible proc (1000 AP for 10 seconds on a crit) that makes the Totem of Splintering look rather ridiculous. Why so little AP, and just on Windfury procs? I'm still baffled. Elemental shamans will have a caster version of the Mirror to drool over, the Sundial of the Exiled. Heck, my enhancement shaman is seriously considering getting both: a ton of crit, a chance at AP for my physical damage and a chance at a big whack of spell power for my Maelstrom procs. Lastly, there's the Egg of Mortal Essence for our healers. If the Sundial didn't specify harmful spells I'd consider getting it and the Egg for my healing set, but c'est la vie.

Neck pieces for shamans at the emblem vendor (I keep calling them 'badges' in my head, just too trained from BC I guess) are the Lattice Choker of Light, the Encircling Burnished Gold Chains and the Pendant of the Outcast Hero. Even with the hit on the Encircling, I prefer the Lattice Choker for both resto and elemental. That big chunk of spirit is just completely wasted for shamans of any spec. The pendant is a straightforward source of AP and crit, not much to complain about there.

Finally, the weapon I know I'll be picking up (and the only one that appeals to any shaman spec, as there's no healer or caster weapon available from emblems) is Pride. Since it's very slow for a rogue, druids can't dual wield, DK's can't use fists and Warriors generally use 2h weapons when DPS spec, it's basically only of interest to an enhancement shaman (or maybe a hunter who's desperate for hit, I guess). Its twin drops in The Culling of Stratholme so you'll make plenty of badges farming for the MH to buy the OH.

That should fairly cover Emblem of Heroism loot for shamans, although I may well have missed an item or two (I didn't mention cloth or leather gear, for instance.). Next week we finish looking at instance drops and quest rewards in the remaining zones of Northrend.

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